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is this the future of halibut seasons in Alaska?

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  • is this the future of halibut seasons in Alaska?

    http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/fishery_bu...snapper_er.pdf

    Down here on the Gulf Coast (Texas to Florida), we've been getting shorter & shorter recreational seasons on our popular game fish. Gulf Red Snapper (a very different fish from what y'all call 'red snapper'), is now down to a 2 fish limit and only a 9 day season in Federal waters (everything past 9 miles, and most red snapper are in waters further out than this). This is in large part due to lobbying by commercial fishing, which gets the lion's share of fish allocated to it's quota.

    I've been watching the limits & rules on recreational halibut fishing get tightened up more every year up in Alaska, and can't help but wonder if you folks are on the way to such rules for halibut? I know that commercial fishing provides alot of employment & economic activity there, but at some point, isn't there a greater economic benefit - in terms of total dollars per pound of fish - to recreational fishing vs commercial harvest? Likewise, it seems that recreational fishing is more sustainable in the long term than some types of commercial fishing (like trawl nets).

    Am I way off base here in regards to Alaskan fishing? Does it make more sense to allocate the majority of harvest to commercial activity up there, or is this something that needs to change to maintain a sustainable long-term fishery? If not, is the recreational sector prepared to live with continually tightened restrictions on halibut & other game fish?

  • #2
    For what it's worth, it should be noted that the commercial harvest has been significantly curtailed - by up to 90% in some areas. This discussion is an important one and you bring up some valid points, but thus far the commercial sector has taken a far heavier cut to their harvest limits.

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    • #3
      True the commercial section took huge cuts as the stock has been declining, but they also had huge increases in allocation when the stock was on the rise.
      Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

      If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Paul H View Post
        True the commercial section took huge cuts as the stock has been declining, but they also had huge increases in allocation when the stock was on the rise.
        Exactly. When you hear about a 75% cut, ect, that is from a peak that was a bit too high. But, once they had some some really high harvest years, those are the years that suddenly become the expectation.
        Alaska Wide Open Charters
        www.alaskawideopen.com
        907-965-0130

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        • #5
          Either way, they are allocated 90%+ of the fish
          Your bait stinks and your boat is ugly

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          • #6
            All true points, but it remains that the commercial sector has borne a significant portion of the conservation burden. Recently the charter sector has started to as well. As yet the self-guided sector has not.

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            • #7
              The commercial sector should bear the significant portion of the burden when the reaped the significant portion of the benefits while the stocks were climbing.
              Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

              If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.

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              • #8
                We need to find a system that works. Right now, we have way to many variables we need to get a handle on.

                We don't have real numbers at how much poundage the charter and sport fleet is actually catching. Charters and sport fishermen should have to spend the few minutes to measure each halibut, record it, and let the numbers be what they be. Port sampling isn't good enough, IMO. It would be no trouble for an extra line on a charter logbook to have a spot for a measurement of the halibut. For sportfishermen, each angler should have a card to record the measurements, that must be returned at the end of each month. As it stands right now, boats can slip in have have big catches go uncounted. Then, let the totals be what they be. If it turns out the catch isn't very big, then we are all winners. If it turns out the catch is way over what they thought it be, let us be managed for a sustainable fishery.

                These are just my thoughts. I plan on fishing for a really long time. I've come to terms that I'll never see a 1 halibut, any size for my charters. Just not going to happen. I suspect limits will be cut more next year, as everybody is very booked up this season. We'll be lucky to have 1 halibut under 42" in 2015.
                Alaska Wide Open Charters
                www.alaskawideopen.com
                907-965-0130

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                • #9
                  I started to post something along the same lines as well. In the gulf, the commercials get 51% and the recreationals and charters get 49%. The commercials can fish whenever they want on IFQs. The commercials just sued the NMFS for allowing the recreationals to go over our quotas the last few years and the commercials won the suit. So now we get 9 days instead of the 30-40 days we have gotten in recent years. There are so many people now that fish for them it is crazy, but there are still loads of fish. Of course all is temporarily forgotten when reeling up a big one. They are a hoot to catch especially when you have to muscle them out from under an oil rig before they break you off. Not to mention how good they are to eat.

                  I know the video cartoon in the link below has been around for a couple of years but it still makes me laugh. It sums up the situation pretty well. I don't remember seeing it on this forum, but maybe it was. I hope you enjoy it.

                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9evQ3_vVq8

                  A couple of 18 pounders

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                  • #10
                    I think the main difference between the red snapper fishery in Texas and the Halibut fishery in Alaska seems to be there actually is a shortage of Halibut. Anyone that fishes the GOM regularly will tell you there is not a shortage of American Red Snapper. We can't get away from them long enough to fish for other bottom species. 9 days is a joke ...I was hoping for 0 this year I think it would have help to highlight how broke this system really is.

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                    • #11
                      The longliners were out there fishing halibut long before most of the charter /rec fleet ever exsisted !! Those guys earned every pound of fish in their quotas(i'm not talking about the johnny come lately that have bought their quotas) but the guys that fished hard all those years. Now the charter/rec fleet wants to take quota away from them so they can continue to overfish the quotas they were given !! Its like if they hired more people to work at your job but the boss isn't going to pay them they will just take it out of your pay, bet you guys would think thats ok ??

                      It makes no difference cause our friends at the No More Fishing Service have this in store for all the fisheries
                      Click image for larger version

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                      Alaska Shrimp Pots

                      Rigid & Folding Shrimp & Crab Pots
                      Electra Dyne Pot Haulers
                      Ropes, Buoys, Bait
                      alaskashrimppots.com
                      akshrimppots@mtaonline.net
                      907 775 1692

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                      • #12
                        Steve, I understand the importance of commercial fishing to the Alaskan economy, and understand that alot of hard working guys depend on this for their livelihood. I'm just wondering if it might be worthwhile for all Alaskans to think about starting to shift the emphasis from harvesting fish that fetch a given dock price (at a few dollars per pound), to more focus on tourism & people (like me) who are willing to pay several thousand dollars to catch & keep a relatively small amount of fish.

                        Kenner, I only compared the red snapper fishery to halibut because both are Federally managed. What nmfs does in one fishery, they will do in the others given time. Steve's cartoon is spot-on.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by potbuilder View Post
                          The longliners were out there fishing halibut long before most of the charter /rec fleet ever exsisted !! Those guys earned every pound of fish in their quotas(i'm not talking about the johnny come lately that have bought their quotas) but the guys that fished hard all those years.
                          You do realize that the people who have bought halibut IFQ pounds here in 2C at 42$/lb , will have to 'fish hard' just break even in 10 years?

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                          • #14
                            Zeek, agreed.. given enough time they will ruin whatever fishery it is they are attempting to manage

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Anythingalaska View Post
                              You do realize that the people who have bought halibut IFQ pounds here in 2C at 42$/lb , will have to 'fish hard' just break even in 10 years?
                              Tuff to break into halibut fishing these days. Expensive business, no doubt.
                              Alaska Wide Open Charters
                              www.alaskawideopen.com
                              907-965-0130

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